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View Diary: I remember where I was that day (25 comments)

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  •  In class, High School Sophomore Year (4+ / 0-)

    Today, my close childhood friend who was in that classroom that day is a guest in our home. It had been over 25 years since we've been in touch....

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, was deeply affected by this terrible news. Words fail.

    President Kennedy had recently initiated his signature Presidential Fitness program which he included in his New Frontier platform.

    We were also participants in the Junior ROTC program in our high school. In that environment, Marine Corps General Shoup had promoted the challenge to complete a 50-mile march in less than 20 hours. You could get a medal if the march could be completed in 12 hours or less. Today, the challenge is known as a Kennedy March.

    Kennedy died on Friday. My friend and I and two others officially began our 50 mile march at 2:00 am Saturday morning. It was officially timed by the School Board Chairman ("Dad" to one of the others).

    With only one dropping out, three of us finished the trek in just under 20 hours.

    We had a lot of laughs today as we reminisced about this and many other idiotic ideas we had as immortal hormone riddled stupid teenage boys.

    Mostly, we remembered the pain the next morning.... And for several more days/

    You see, we had no thought about conditioning, equipment, hydration, nutrition, or any of that stuff. It didn't dawn on anyone to check the weather forecast. We didn't even bother to sleep before we left. Street clothes, everyday shoes, no sunglasses, no hat, and just a light jacket, gloves, and one pair of earmuffs for the four of us. One guy brought a box of raisins. Another brought four apples. Nothing to drink. Nothing. We had enough change for Coke machines at gas stations along the highway. That was it.

    No escorts. No reflective clothing. No checkpoints. No telephone cords longer than 100 feet....

    Oh yeah. We had two flashlights.  

    Just four 14 year old boys walking along the shoulders of secondary Wisconsin state and county roads at night and all the next day.

    Our minds were focused entirely on honoring President Kennedy. We simply had to do something that was significant, personal, and relevant.

    We didn't earn a medal. We didn't even register our 50 mile march. We did this for President Kennedy.

    Over the years, President Kennedy has returned much more to each of us than we put into that 50 mile march.

    President Kennedy changed our lives.
    President Kennedy changed the World.

    That's our unforgettable shared adventure.

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:43:44 AM PST

    •  We must be the same age. (4+ / 0-)

      I was a sophomore also and had just dressed out for gym when a teacher came in and whispered to the girls coach.  She gathered us all together and told us to go and get back into our street cloths.  She sat us down in the bleachers and we spent the rest of the class talking about it and crying.

      The rest of the afternoon was more of the same,  We were off the day of the funeral.  So I did do a lot of TV watching all week end and into the next week.  It seemed like every year after that for a long time people would remember  this day.  

      When I was really little my mother would always remind us of Pearl Harbor day, and V day.   So for my generation it was the day to remember.

      •  I'm the same age too (3+ / 0-)

        Class of '66. I was 14, about to turn 15, a sophomore.
        I was in class when they announced it over the PA and then let everyone go.  Lots of girls were crying. I went down to the little market down the street from the school. It was packed with people watching it on a little B&W tv.

        I went outside and there in the parking lot smoked my first ever joint.  50 years of that too.

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:35:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I did 2 50 milers with my bro. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      im2004lurker, GrumpyOldGeek

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 05:37:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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